Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Disappearing Girl Sale and Healthier Thinking for the New Year's

At the start of the New Year, I know a lot of thought goes into weight loss and getting back in shape. I'm all for healthy habits, but for those who are suffering from an eating disorder, this time of year can be a difficult one. I'm putting The Disappearing Girl on sale for the new year and I wanted to share a little bit of the backstory to the novel.

When I was in high school, some really ugly stuff was going on in my life. I won't get into specifics because I'd never want to hurt anyone by sharing my story, but it was very a dark period for me. All this bad stuff was going on around me and I felt that I had no control over anything. For the most part, I'd been thin in middle school, but I found my weight going up in high school. I was a stress eater and I turned to food for solace since I felt I had no one else there for me in my life.

I can remember the first time I made myself vomit. I had overeaten at lunch and went into the school's bathroom and shoved my fingers into my throat. I remember thinking how easy it was. The food would come out just as easy as it went in. I could binge and never worry about gaining a pound.

I never considered myself bulimic or thought I suffered from an eating disorder. I would only throw up from time to time, so I never realized what I was doing was unhealthy or could be a problem. And until I gained perspective over what was happening, I didn't consider that the times I was throwing up was during times of stress.

The thing about bulimia is that throwing up your food is hard to keep a secret. There was a lot of lingering in the bathroom, running the water in hopes no one would hear me gagging, trying to clean away the evidence off my face and hands. I would try to look at myself in the mirror after and I couldn't do it. I felt myself rotting from the inside out.

This behavior went on for years, well until I finished college. I think a big turning point for me was my husband (at the time boyfriend) catching me as I threw up a particular big meal on vacation. I was ashamed of who I had become and what I was willing to do to my body. After I became pregnant with my first child, I decided I'd never risk my health in that way again.

But the thing is those mixed up feelings about weight and food never go away. They linger and I still struggle all the time to not become obsessive about my weight. There's always this deep drive to try the latest fad diet or pick up a new bottle of weight loss supplements. I have to always take a step back and give myself a mental pep talk in order to get my thinking back on track.

Writing The Disappearing Girl was therapeutic and I'm happy with myself right now. I exercise (but keep it fun) and I'm trying to incorporate healthy recipes into my family diet's instead of strict diet plans.

In short, I wanted to make it clear that The Disappearing Girl has the most of me in it. All those emotions Kayla goes through as she suffers from an eating disorder came from my own personal experience. My intent was to be honest and hopefully reach women and men who are possibly going through the same issues I had.

The Disappearing Girl is on sale for 99 Cents through the weekend on and Amazon UK. Links:  

The graphic at the top was done by a blogger and very talented graphic artist named Georgina. You can check out her blog and design portfolio here:

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year's $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

New Year's is around the corner and I'm hoping to make yours a little brighter by hosting one of my biggest giveaway events of the year. Win a $100 Amazon gift card! Pick up a few of those things you didn't get over the holidays. Good luck! And I hope 2015 is a good one for you all!

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Review: The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson


From the author of the acclaimed The Girl with a Clock for a Heart--hailed by the Washington Post as crime fiction's best first novel of 2014"--a devious tale of psychological suspense involving sex, deception, and an accidental encounter that leads to murder that is a modern reimagining of Patricia Highsmith's classic Strangers on a Train.

On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that's going stale and his wife Miranda, who he's sure is cheating on him. Ted and his wife were a mismatch from the start--he the rich businessman, she the artistic free spirit--a contrast that once inflamed their passion, but has now become a cliche.

But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she's done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, "I'd like to help." After all, some people are the kind worth killing, like a lying, stinking, cheating spouse. . . .

Back in Boston, Ted and Lily's twisted bond grows stronger as they begin to plot Miranda's demise. But there are a few things about Lily's past that she hasn't shared with Ted, namely her experience in the art and craft of murder, a journey that began in her very precocious youth.

Suddenly these co-conspirators are embroiled in a chilling game of cat-and-mouse, one they both cannot survive . . . with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.

Publication Date: January 6, 2015

The Kind Worth Killing was an incredible read! I haven’t picked up a good thriller in a long time and this book cured my reading slump. There were so many great twists that I didn’t see coming. I need to check out if the author has any more books released as soon as humanly possible.

The synopsis makes the plot of the book sound straightforward enough and I love that I went into the book with totally different expectations. I was completely blown away by just how complicated things become between Lily, Ted and Miranda. I’m usually pretty good at guessing plot twists, but the author totally threw me off my game.

There are no “true” good guys in the book. However, the author was still able to make me feel a connection with each narrator and allow me a glimpse into his or her twisted mind. There are multiple narrators in the novel, which can sometimes annoy me, but really worked with this story.

Pacing was fantastic and the writing was crisp which I appreciate for suspense novels. And normally I often find the conclusions of psychological suspense novels not very satisfying, but I loved the way the author ended The Kind Worth Killing. Honestly, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Review: Winterspell by Claire Legrand

Goodreads Summary:

The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor's ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother's murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted--by beings distinctly nothuman. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they're to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets--and a need she can't define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won't leave Cane unscathed--if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

Publication Date: September 30, 2014

I am a huge fan of The Nutcracker, so I was very excited to check out this retelling. Plus, I figured it would help me get in the holiday spirit. I liked Winterspell enough, but the pace at times was very slow and I found my interest waning.

I really wanted to like Clara. I mean she supposed to be like sweet little Clara from the ballet, right? But the book’s Clara keeps having dirty thoughts about a statue, causing a lot of eye rolling on my part. I mean although the statue turns out to be a real guy, it felt odd to me. Clara also came across at times as having a victim-blaming mentality.

I did like some of the darker themes in the book, especially in regards to Clara’s messed up family and her need to save them. The action scenes were also very exciting and the bad guys in the stories were very creepy. The other realm was interesting and I was shocked by some of the twists that occurred in the latter half of the novel.

Overall, I liked some aspects of Winterspell, but my hang-ups with the main character took away a lot of my enjoyment.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Pretending Hearts Sale and Gift Card Giveaway

Now until after Christmas, pick up your copy of Pretending Hearts for only 99 Cents on the Amazon US Store! Link here: To help promote the event, I'm giving away a $30 Amazon Gift Card and a Free eBook (Winner's Choice). Enter below. Giveaway ends December 30. Best of luck!

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Review: Bleed Like Me by C. Desir


From the author of Fault Line comes an edgy and heartbreaking novel about two self-destructive teens in a Sid and Nancy-like romance full of passion, chaos, and dyed hair.

Seventeen-year-old Amelia Gannon (just "Gannon" to her friends) is invisible to almost everyone in her life. To her parents, to her teachers-even her best friend, who is more interested in bumming cigarettes than bonding. Some days the only way Gannon knows she is real is by carving bloody lines into the flesh of her stomach.

Then she meets Michael Brooks, and for the first time, she feels like she is being seen to the core of her being. Obnoxious, controlling, damaged, and addictive, he inserts himself into her life until all her scars are exposed. Each moment together is a passionate, painful relief.

But as the relationship deepens, Gannon starts to feel as if she's standing at the foot of a dam about to burst. She's given up everything and everyone in her life for him, but somehow nothing is enough for Brooks-until he poses the ultimate test.

Bleed Like Me is a piercing, intimate portrayal of the danger of a love so obsessive it becomes its own biggest threat. 

Publication Date: October 2014

I have to admit I was a little nervous reading this one. I’ve never read a book about cutting and I expected to be an emotional mess after reading. I think the author did a good job of telling Amelia’s story in a very moving and heart-wrenching way.

Since I love romance stories, it was difficult to read about Amelia and Brooks. Their relationship is toxic and they seemed to bring out the worse in each other. I was hoping for some kind of moment of clarity to come for the characters, but that never really happened.

I liked the writing style and I think the author did an excellent job of making readers feel an emotional connection with Amelia. I didn’t always relate to Amelia, but I could understand her inner turmoil and the way her resentments toward her family poisoned her from the inside out.

The ending is realistic which may or may not work for some readers. I’d recommend the novel if you’re looking for a teen read with darker themes. I have a feeling this is a book readers would either really love or really hate.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #114

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and features books you've added to your shelves, both physical and virtual.

For Review:
Broken Skies by Theresa Kay

The Remedy by Suzanne Young

More than This by Jay McLean

Taint by S.L. Jennings

Ticker by Lisa Mantchev

Down from the Mountain by Elizabeth Fixmer

Friday, December 19, 2014

Review: The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan

Goodreads Summary:

Eveny Cheval just moved back to Louisiana after spending her childhood in New York with her aunt Bea. Eveny hasn’t seen her hometown since her mother’s suicide fourteen years ago, and her memories couldn’t have prepared her for what she encounters. Because pristine, perfectly manicured Carrefour has a dark side full of intrigue, betrayal, and lies—and Eveny quickly finds herself at the center of it all.

Enter Peregrine Marceau, Chloe St. Pierre, and their group of rich, sexy friends known as the Dolls. From sipping champagne at lunch to hooking up with the hottest boys, Peregrine and Chloe have everything—including an explanation for what’s going on in Carrefour. And Eveny doesn’t trust them one bit.

But after murder strikes and Eveny discovers that everything she believes about herself, her family, and her life is a lie, she must turn to the Dolls for answers. Something’s wrong in paradise, and it’s up to Eveny, Chloe, and Peregrine to save Carrefour and make it right.

Publication Date: September 2, 2014

This is definitely a guilty pleasure book. If you’re looking for a book that allows you to shut off your brain and just go with it, then I highly recommend The Dolls. Most of the characters are shallow and the main character has a few too stupid to live moments, but I enjoyed the book well enough. There’s a lot of materialism in the book and I think another reviewer who called the novel Mean Girls with magic was right on. The romance felt forced at first, but ended up growing on me more as the story progressed. I’d say if you’re in the mood for a candy-like read for YAs, then pick up The Dolls.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Review: Suspicion by Alexandra Monir


“There’s something hidden in the maze.”

Seventeen-year-old Imogen Rockford has never forgotten the last words her father said to her, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family’s English country manor.

For seven years, images of her parents’ death have haunted Imogen’s dreams. In an effort to escape the past, she leaves Rockford Manor and moves to New York City with her new guardians. But some attachments prove impossible to shake—including her love for her handsome neighbor Sebastian Stanhope.

Then a life-altering letter arrives that forces Imogen to return to the manor in England, where she quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind Rockford’s aristocratic exterior. At their center is Imogen herself—and Sebastian, the boy she never stopped loving.

Combining spine-tingling mystery, romance, and unforgettable characters,Suspicion is an action-packed thrill ride.

Publication Date: December 9, 2014

Suspicion had a beginning that really pulled me into the story right away. I loved the Old English Manor setting and the interesting cast of secondary characters. The suspense plot kept me reading to find out more about the curse surrounding Imogen’s family.

Although the beginning of Suspicion was very exciting, the pace slows down considerably after the first couple of chapters. The book definitely had a gothic feel and the suspense was slow building. I liked following along with Imogen as she attempted to uncover the dark history of Rockford.

The book had a very classic whodunit feel with a cast of characters that included the kindly butler, the evil maid and the mysterious gardener. There was also a love triangle between Imogen, her cousin and the handsome neighbor. I had issues with the romance, so it was one aspect of the book I wasn’t really feeling. I kept up with the novel more for the magic and mystery than Imogen and Sebastian’s relationship.

The conflict was resolved in the final act of the novel, but I’m not sure if it’s the resolution I wanted. I think maybe if the author took some more time to tie up the loose ends, I would’ve liked it more.

Overall, I’d recommend Suspicion to younger teens who enjoy books with mystery and magic.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

Publication Date: February 10, 2015

This book has a lot of buzz surrounding it, so I was very excited to read an advanced copy. And I wasn’t disappointed. The Red Queen was a mash up of some of my favorite YA reads (The Selection, Divergent, Shatter Me, etc) and I found myself drawn into Mare’s complex world.

I think the author built her story on a simple, but strong foundation: the non-magical are being persecuted and exploited by the magical beings in Mare’s world. Mare cares about her family deeply and steals in order to help them survive the harsh conditions of the kingdom. But when Mare is thrust into the world of the Silvers, she discovers her own magical abilities.

The world building was done well and I found the rules of the Silvers and Reds easy to follow. I thought Mare was an admirable character, but she had a few moments where her rash actions were really thoughtless to those around her. I also felt like she could be very hypocritical at times and find ways to justify her own deplorable actions while judging others harshly.

I actually liked the secondary characters much more than Mare. I especially enjoyed reading about the two princes and their complex relationship with each other. I really loved Cal and there is a love triangle in the book between the brothers and Mare. Mare didn’t seem to have much of an emotional connection with anyone, so the romance took a bit of a backseat.

There were some great twists in the book and the last quarter of the book was a definite page-turner. The ending had me so eager to check out the next book. Can’t wait to see where the story goes!

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars  

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Review: Perfection by J.L. Spelbring


The personification of Aryan purity, Ellyssa's spent her whole life under her creator's strict training and guidance; her purpose is to eradicate inferior beings. She was genetically engineered to be the perfect soldier: strong, intelligent, unemotional, and telepathic.
Only Ellyssa isn't perfect. 

Ellyssa feels emotions--a fact she's spent her life concealing. Until she encounters the epitome of inferiority: a dark-haired boy raised among renegades hiding since the Nazis won the war a century ago. He speaks to her telepathically, pushing thoughts into her mind, despite the impossibility of such a substandard person having psychic abilities.
But he does.

His unspoken words and visions of a place she's never visited make Ellyssa question her creator. Confused and afraid her secret will be discovered, Ellyssa runs away, embarking on a journey where she discovers there is more to her than perfection.

Publication Date: July 16, 2013

Perfection was a book that I was happy I stuck with. The beginning started with a lot of action and it was a little jarring for me. I would’ve preferred a little more build-up so I could become fully invested with Elyssa’s plight. But once I got more background on the story, I enjoyed the story much more.

Perfection was told in third-person and it allowed for the reader to get a complete picture of the world Elyssa was born into. I thought the alternate history idea was intriguing (an Aryan race rules with genetic modification methods utilized to ensure “perfection.”). However, I would’ve liked more world building to understand the historical significance.

I liked the romance, although I would’ve thought there would be more development in the area. But I believe there’s a sequel already released, so I imagine there will be a lot more attention paid to Rein and Elyssa’s relationship.

The plot was good and I liked how Elyssa could really kick butt. No helpless heroine in this YA novel. The rebel faction really elevated the plot for me.

Overall, Perfection is a very unique YA series starter with a memorable heroine who is fighting against a corrupt government.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Review: The Bargaining by Carly Anne West


The fact that neither of her parents wants to deal with her is nothing new to Penny. She’s used to being discussed like a problem, a problem her mother has finally passed on to her father. What she hasn’t gotten used to is her stepmother…especially when she finds out that she’ll have to spend the summer with April in the remote woods of Washington to restore a broken-down old house.

Set deep in a dense forest, the old Carver House is filled with abandoned antique furniture, rich architectural details, and its own chilling past. The only respite Penny can find away from April’s renovations is in Miller, the young guy who runs the local general store. He’s her only chance at a normal, and enjoyable, summer.

But Miller has his own connection to the Carver House, and it’s one that goes beyond the mysterious tapping Penny hears at her window, the handprints she finds smudging the glass panes, and the visions of children who beckon Penny to follow them into the dark woods. Miller’s past just might threaten to become the terror of Penny’s future….

Publication Date: February 17, 2015

The Bargaining was a much scarier book than I anticipated! Something about ghostly children always gives me the heebie jeebies. There was also a good central mystery that kept me turning the pages in order to find out what had happened to the kids in town who went missing in the North Woods.

Penny was a hard character to like. She eventually grew on me, but it took a really long time. I think her flawed character actually worked well for the horror story. I also liked watching her relationships with her dad, stepmother and stepbrother grow as the story progressed. From the description, I thought she’d have a romance with local boy Miller, but there wasn’t a romantic element in the story.

The story was definitely creepy. There were a few really frightening scenes and I found it crazy how well Penny handled the horrors she found inside the Carver House. I thought the strongest part of the book was during the dreamlike sequences where the missing kids of the North Woods would reach out to Penny for help.

What I didn’t like about The Bargaining was how confusing the story became. The details were too vague and the resolution wasn’t what I hoped for. I don’t mind being left with unanswered questions, but the conclusion was way too open-ended.

Overall, if you’re looking for a YA horror novel for a rainy day, then The Bargaining is a solid choice.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!   

Monday, December 8, 2014

Review: Magnolia by Kristi Cook


In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.

Publication Date: August 5, 2104

After a run of disappointing YA contemporaries, I’m finally two for two this month. I love having renewed faith in a genre I almost have given up on. I loved Magnolia, especially since I’m a sucker for hate to love romance stories.

Magnolia is a very sweet story about a girl resisting who her family wants to be. Jemma can’t stand the guy her family wants her to one day marry. It’s not until a storm forces her to spend time with Ryder that things begin to change for her.

I loved Jemma’s narrative voice and felt like the story was told in a way that made me feel part of Jemma and Ryder’s world. There is plenty of drama between Jemma and Ryder and I appreciated their ever-changing feelings towards one another. I thought the way they communicated was wonderful and it made for a strong foundation in their relationship.

Later in the book, there were a few darker moments where I felt myself getting choked up. However, I was warmed by how the characters were able to pull through and really be there for one another.

Another must read for fans of YA contemporary romances!

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!       

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #113

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and features books you've added to your shelves, both physical and virtual.

For Review:
Things We Know By by Jessi Kirby

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Illusionarium by Heather Dixon

The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

Twisted Dreams by Marissa Farrar

Untouched by Lauren Hawkeye

Friday, December 5, 2014

Review: The Winter People by Rebekah L. Purdy


An engrossing, complex, romantic fantasy perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore or Maggie Stiefvater, set in a wholly unique world.

Salome Montgomery fears winter—the cold, the snow, the ice, but most of all, the frozen pond she fell through as a child. Haunted by the voices and images of the strange beings that pulled her to safety, she hasn't forgotten their warning to "stay away." For eleven years, she has avoided the winter woods, the pond, and the darkness that lurks nearby. But when failing health takes her grandparents to Arizona, she is left in charge of maintaining their estate. This includes the "special gifts" that must be left at the back of the property.

Salome discovers she’s a key player in a world she’s tried for years to avoid. At the center of this world is the strange and beautiful Nevin, who she finds trespassing on her family’s property. Cursed with dark secrets and knowledge of the creatures in the woods, his interactions with Salome take her life in a new direction. A direction where she'll have to decide between her longtime crush Colton, who could cure her fear of winter. Or Nevin who, along with an appointed bodyguard, Gareth, protects her from the darkness that swirls in the snowy backdrop. An evil that, given the chance, will kill her.

Publication Date: September 2, 2014

I loved the premise of The Winter People! I never read a book before with a similar plot and I was really drawn into the atmospheric tale featuring the creepy wintry creatures that live in the woods behind the house of Salome’s grandparents. I definitely enjoyed the suspense so much more than Salome’s romantic complications.

Salome wasn’t a bad lead for the book and I liked her character development. At the beginning of the novel, she seemed to need saving way too much for my liking. However, she toughened up by the end and I could root for her.

The plot was suspenseful and the opening really drew me into the story. I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on being her grandparents’ house and who the creatures calling out to her were. The descriptive writing was very well done and I loved the wintry backdrop for the majority of the novel.

I don’t mind love triangles all the time, but with three romantic interests for Salome, the romance aspect of The Winter People became annoying. Especially since Salome seemed so wishy washy about the guys in her life. Plus, with three guys, it was almost impossible to have them fully developed as characters.

Overall, I liked The Winter People, but I would’ve preferred a stronger female lead with a simpler love life.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Review: Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard


In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus...all before it’s too late.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.

Susan Dennard will leave readers breathless and forever changed in the concluding pages of this riveting ride.

Publication Date: July 22, 2014

Something Strange and Deadly was one of the first steampunk novels I ever read. I never thought I’d enjoy the genre and the book proved me wrong. I enjoyed how Dennard ended her series (mostly), but I think the first book will remain my favorite in the trilogy.

Eleanor has grown through the series and has remained strong despite suffering tragedy after tragedy. I liked her relationships with the secondary characters and I was glad to see more romance between her and Daniel. Daniel was by far my favorite in the series.

I was very invested in the romance plot, probably more so than the actual tracking down Marcus parts of the novel. But I stuck with it and I was glad to see the book pick up steam in the second half.

Spolierish*** But then the ending happened and I was like: WHY???? I know not every book has to have a HEA but the book is called Strange and Ever After. I felt cheated by the end and I’m so frustrated with YA books with endings that leave you feeling like you wasted your time on a series. Like why even introduce a romantic element? Just keep the story about Eleanor discovering her powers and seeking revenge against Marcus***End of Spoilers

Overall, I liked the book, but disliked the ending. So, I’m going to settle on a 3.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the book for review!    

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Review: Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf


Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity; the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children's advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for.

Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends' couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen's and Jenny's lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another.

A powerful and emotionally charged tale about motherhood and justice, Little Mercies is a searing portrait of the tenuous grasp we have on the things we love the most, and of the ties that unexpectedly bring us together.

Publication Date: June 24, 2014

This book left me with such a pain in my gut the entire time I was reading it. The child abuse horror stories depicted by the author are not for the faint of heart. The book took me a long time to finish because I needed to give myself a mental break from the heartache I found between the pages. However, I have to give the author kudos for making me so emotionally invested in Ellen’s story.

Honestly, I was a little unsure going into Little Mercies. I had read another book by the author and I didn’t totally love the story. This book proves why it’s a good idea to always give an author another chance. Little Mercies was such a powerful read and I’m sure the story will stay with me for a long time.

I liked the alternating point of view narration and found myself relating on so many levels to both Jenny and Ellen. I admired their strength in the face of terrible circumstances. I thought their reactions were realistic and I could easily imagine so many other women and girls finding themselves in similar situations with no easy way out.

Child abuse is a tough topic to read about, but I though the author handled it in an honest, but sensitive way.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Review: On the Fence by Kasie West


For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Publication Date: July 1, 2014

I am turning into quite the Kasie West fangirl. I just love how I end up grinning while reading her books. They are never too heavy and I love how sweet each romance is in her novels. On the Fence was no different and I really enjoyed Charlie and Braden’s relationship.

I loved Charlie, especially since I rarely read about too many tomboys in YA literature. She was such a cool girl—it was easy to imagine being her best friend. Although the book does deal with some serious topics, specifically the death of Charlie’s mom, there was enough light moments to chase away the dark.

I thought the setup for the romance with Braden was very sweet. Charlie has a lot of insecurities about her crush on Braden and I hated how unsure she became about herself. I loved how Charlie grew in the novel and how she learned to love who she was and not who she thought Braden would want.

If you’re looking for a go-to YA writer, then I’d highly recommend Kasie West. Although Pivot Point still holds the crown for my favorite book by her, On the Fence was another great read.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!